New vessels, rigs & upgrades

The Gorilla V being guided down the Mississippi River on its way to Sabine Pass for final outfitting. The MV Atlantic Horizon [22,617 bytes]. R&B Falcon's RBS-6 deep water semisubmersible [95,583 bytes]. Score still falling [9,479 bytes]


Marshall DeLuca
The Gorilla V being guided down the Mississippi River on its way to Sabine Pass for final outfitting.

Smedvig, Navion sink West Navion II

The plug has been pulled on the Smedvig/ Navion joint construction project - the West Navion II drillship. The two companies have agreed to terminate the construction of the vessel, the drilling contract, and the contracts for delivery of drilling modules and equipment after deeming the risk associated with the project as substantial. Shell Deepwater Development had contracted for the initial five year drilling contract for the vessel and has consented to the termination.

The drillship was set for delivery in the fourth quarter of 1999 and delivery of equipment and drilling modules were still in the early phase. The perceived risk associated with the project was related to the delivery date and cost estimate. Smedvig will be eating $90 million for the cancellation which will be charged to the 1998 second quarter accounts.

The termination of the project is not expected to impact the progress of the West Navion I drillship, currently at 70% completed. Information earlier this year indicated that costs for the two drillships had risen over $400 million from the original estimates.

Gorilla V on schedule

The Rowan Gorilla V, the world's largest jackup rig, left the LeTourneau Vicksburg, Mississippi yard on schedule and is enroute to Rowan's Sabine Pass, Texas shorebase. There, the remainder of its 559-ft legs and the drilling derrick will be installed as well, as other final outfitting and testing completed.

The Gorilla V will have the versatility to operate as a drilling unit, a mobile production unit, or both simultaneously. It has been designed to operate year-round in 400-ft water depths south of the 61st parallel in the North Sea, but could operate in water exceeding 500-ft in the Gulf of Mexico. The hull dimensions, load capacity, and horsepower make it the largest, most powerful jackup in the world.

The Gorilla V will arrive on location in the North Sea in November, where it will begin work for Amoco. Rowan currently has two more Gorilla class rigs planned: the Gorilla VI, currently under construction and set for delivery in the second quarter of 2000, and the Gorilla VII, set for delivery about one year later.

ENSCO 7500 semi contract awarded

TDI-Halter has signed a letter of agreement with ENSCO International for the construction of an ENSCO 7500-design semisubmersible. The award was granted following the signing of a contract between ENSCO and Burlington Resources for operation of the rig for a minimum of three years in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The ENSCO 7500 is a dynamically positioned semi capable of drilling in up to 7,500 ft water depths. The contract will also provide the option for a second rig. The rig will be constructed at TDI-Halter's Orange, Texas facility and will be completed within two years.

New seismic vessel

Horizon Exploration is planning delivery of the MV Atlantic Horizon seismic vessel within the next month. The Atlantic will be one of the largest seismic vessels in the world, measuring 121 meters in length with a 23 meter beam. The vessel will feature one of the most capable seismic installations in the industry, deploying up to ten 8,000-meter streamers and powerful dual sources from highly automated afterdeck areas.

The Atlantic will be able to deploy and recover up to 10 low-noise streamers and dual sources located on two 60-meter long, full-width streamer decks together with a similar 50 meter long source handling deck. The vessel will be equipped with an Input/Output MSX-24 bit recording system, a capability of 5000 plus channels and 3590 cartridge, low noise streamer design with 12.5 meter group interval, and high output Bolt long life gun arrays. The vessel will also feature a fully integrated Spectra marine navigation system, all available spread positioning information, and extensive real-time and end of line QC analysis.

Noble buys Shelf 6

Noble has purchased the Shelf 6 semisubmersible. The Shelf 6 is a Friede & Goldman 9500 Enhanced Pacesetter design built in 1986 and is rated at 600 ft water depth operation. The rig, currently located outside Wakkanai Harbor, Japan, will undergo refurbishment and a water depth upgrade once a long-term contract is secured. The Shelf 6 joins two other Pacesetter designs in Noble's fleet, the Noble Homer Ferrington and Ilion.

R&B Falcon has two deepwater contracts

R&B Falcon recently finalized two contracts for its deepwater fleet. Petrobras has signed a six-year primary term contract worth $206 million for the Seillean dynamically positioned offshore production unit. The vessel is undergoing modifications and is expected to begin operation by November 1.

The Deepwater Millennium dynamically positioned drillship currently under construction at the Samsung yard in Korea, was also the subject of contract negotiation. Statoil extended the contract for the drillship by 18 months to a total contract term of four years. This increased the total contract value from $166 million to $266 million. The vessel is set for delivery in the third quarter of 1999.

Also under construction is the RBS-6 deep water semi submersible. The RBS-6 is a fifth generation semi jointly developed by R&B Falcon and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries. The rig is suitable for operations in the Gulf of Mexico and West of Shetlands and can operate in water depth up to 8,000 ft.

The RBS-6 will feature an eight-point self-contained mooring system plus thruster assist. The 357.6 ft by 255.9 ft rig will also feature 6,000 mt of variable deckload and very low motion characteristics. A six-year, $335 million contract for the RBS-6 was awarded last year by Shell for the Gulf of Mexico. The rig is expected to be completed by November 1999.

Copyright 1998 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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